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J Otolaryngol. 2005 Feb;34(1):1-6.

[Studies of labyrinthine cholesteatoma-related fistulas: report of 22 cases].

[Article in French]

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Service d'oto-rhino-laryngologie et Chirurgie Cervico-Faciale, CHU de Bicêtre, Le Kremlin-Biĉetre, France.



To study the incidence, location, pre- and postoperative symptoms (hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, facial palsy), preoperative diagnostic imaging, and surgical treatment of labyrinthine fistulae (LF).


Retrospective case review.


Twenty-two cases of LF over 382 mastoid operations performed in a 168-month period.


Clinical, imaging, and surgical correlation of extensive fistulae and bone fistulae.


LF prevalence was 5.8%. The main primary symptoms were otorrhea and hypoacusis. Only four patients presented vertigo as their main complaint. All patients underwent preoperative computed tomographic (CT) scans and preoperative audiometry. LF diagnosis was made before surgery for 100% of patients on the basis of CT scan. A second fistula was, however, misdiagnosed by imaging in two patients. With respect to surgical technique, a canal wall down procedure was performed in 77% and a conservative procedure was performed in 23%. Fistula was located in the horizontal semicircular canal in 100% of cases, and in 9%, a second fistula was operatively diagnosed. In 91% of cases, the matrix was removed, whereas it was left in the course of a canal down procedure in 9%. With a follow-up of 5.7 years, hearing remained unchanged in 80% of patients.


Surgery with removal of the cholesteatoma matrix and sealing of the fistula with temporalis fascia is a safe procedure that can help preserve cochlear function. The choice of a canal down procedure would be influenced by cholesteatoma characteristics rather than by the finding of an LF.

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